Monday, January 5, 2009

Be A DreamCatcher

One of the most beautiful and popular stories in Native American legends is that of the DreamCatcher. It's been handed down from generation to generation by our Native storytellers. DreamCatchers are also the most abused, mis-used, and mis-understood of all Native American crafts on the market today.
You can go into a reservation gift shop or a national park gift shop and see a profuse supply of DreamCatchers. DreamCatchers are the most purchased of Native American crafts.
It is said that DreamCatchers came from the Ojibwa peoples (Chippewa). It has since been adopted by many Native American/First Peoples cultures. A true Dreamcatcher is made with a hoop or in a tear drop shape, if made from a willow branch. The thing that makes a DreamCatcher a dream catcher is the inticately woven web that resembles a spider's web. It has a hole in the middle and is most likely decorated with charms. A feather hangs from the bottom of it for the good dreams to slide down and reach the sleeper.

The Ojibwa believe that the night is filled with both good and bad dreams (don't we all know this). When a DreamCatcher is hung above your sleeping place it moves in the night air and catches the dreams as they float by. The good dreams, knowing their way, pass through the opening in the center of the webbing while the bad dreams, not knowing the way, are caught in the webbing and are destroyed at the first light of the morning sun. Although the designs and legends of DreamCatchers differ slightly, the underlying meaning and symbolism is universal and is carried across cultures and language barriers, after all, everybody dreams.

As I sit here listening to R. Carlos Nakai and his beautiful flute music I am wrapping suede deerskin around hoops for DreamCatchers. As I drift off into that empty space that comes into your mind with the monotony of repetition I think on what a DreamCatcher does. It lets the good in and captures the bad to later be destroyed. Shouldn't we be more like dream catchers. Shouldn't we let the good in and repell the bad. Shouldn't we let the good words of others into our life and let those bad words be captured and destroyed. Whereas the spider's web of a DreamCatcher allows the good to pass through (the good knows it's way through the spider's maze) the bad dreams are lost and captured until morning light (because they don't know their way through the maze). We have to become that spider's web and allow only good words from others to pass through to our heart and understanding. We have to capture and repell the bad words from others and keep them from entering our hearts and understanding.

This means we have to hold on to others words and judge if they are good or bad. This, as you well know, is not always an easy thing to do. We need to have the strength of an Oak tree to stand and judge words.

We need to be slow to speak. We need to keep a tight web. We need to learn to take the time to judge bad words and not allow them into our hearts and understanding. Patience and wisdom will judge the words and this all comes from your heart. You have to be the web. I have DreamCatchers for sale at http://KickingBear.Etsy.Com Stop by and take a look at them and please respect our ancestors and use your DreamCatchers for what they were intended for. Don't hang a dream catcher from the rear view mirror of your car, it's NOT a decoration.

By the way, if you are talented enough and know the Old Ways and want to make your own DreamCatcher, visit my friend at She has a huge assortment of beads and precious/semi-precious stones to attach to your DreamCatcher.


Jamie said...

What a beautiful story Froggy! It's very important to respect other cultures and their beliefs. This told me many things I did not know about dream catchers and I'm sure others will learn from it as well!

Creations by JAE

Tina Cowan said...

I need one like it...
And for sure I like those bad dreams to go away. Nice topic, swamp guy.

Anonymous said...

What a wonderful thought, to be like a dream catcher, sorting positive and negative energies out and only savoring the good things! Way to go Van! Teri

A Beaded Affair said...

When I read your posts I always think I have so much more to learn. Patience, tolerance, thoughtfulness seem to be a way of life I need to work hard to better incorporate into my everday process. Keep writing Van, I'll keep reading and trying to learn. Peace.

Betty BeadBug said...

Whenever I see a post of yours I know that there are good thing to come. My father in law remembered the old ways and would make dream catchers for us and the children. My oldest son never sleeps as soundly as when he is tucked up underneath it. That can be something for me to strive for in the new be like a dream catcher. In with the good and trapping the bad.

Anna Lee H. in Toronto said...

Wonderful information as usual and thank you so much Van for your plug of my shoppe! I still want the dreamcatchers that we spoke about earlier. And this incredible gourd of yours is just so beautiful that I'll just have to get more, or maybe the paintings to go with it!
~Anna Lee

Izzy's Precious Creations said...

Inspirational and something to think about.
Both my kids have a dream catcher hanging near their bed, which they received from an aboriginal wedding and they still appreciate the value of it.

Studio618 said...

Good information and now I understand the dream catchers more. We all need to work harder to not let the negatives affect us. Wise words, as usual.

Jamie said...

Hey Van! I have chosen you as one of the recipients of the Lemonade Award! Please check out my blog post at for more details!

Creations by JAE

Danis Garcia said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Dani said...

Hi Van, I always enjoy spending time reading both of your blogs. When I was given the opportunity to pass along the Kreative Blog award to five bloggers, I chose this one, but it was hard to pick. You can read about it on my blog at Have a blessed day~!

From The Studio

Morning Gossip

Morning Gossip
by Van Stewart Bevil
I painted this group of Maccaws after I joined an online internet chatroom (Artists Cafe). There's not much else I can say about the painting, the painting says it all.Rather than artists helping other artists I found nothing but gossip.

It's always nice to do a painting that says what you feel or saw without having to explain alot about the work. With a minimum amount of brush strokes and detail, the birds say it all. Morning Gossip!

This oil painting was done on a 24x36 inch stretched canvas. This painting is hanging in our livingroom and has added greatly to our tropical decor. Joyce says it's time to share it with someone else. LOL


Going Home

Going Home
by Van Stewart Bevil
I spotted this Wood Duck silently flying through the trees in Western Kentucky. The sun had just set and an evening mist was beginning to rise off the dense forest floor. Only his distinctive whistle alerted me to his presence.He was obviously on his way to the nest for the night.Wood Ducks are the only duck native to North America.